Like who deserves us, whom we deserve, what deserves yet another chance and what doesn't. I confess, I've found the argument of being "deserved" as the sole basis for judging our relationships somewhat ineffective. I suppose to me, it's stating the obvious.
It's not far from someone howling, "No Fair" on the playground, it doesn't exactly tell us what to do next, how to work with what we feel and worse, it could render us myopic. Tunnel visioned into immediately righting things that we're blinded to what actually is. The why's and wherefores, and more significantly, the who's.
Life becomes about the red pencil and we're displaced from our own individuality, too preoccupied with the act of policing. Who can own our part of the relationship but us? Who can answer the question, what is this really about and what does it mean to me? You can't if you've become nothing more than judge and jury.
Don't mistake me. I would hope that if the scales are tipped so unevenly, at some point, we're healthy enough to step back and get the bigger picture. Decide why we should or shouldn't accept it and act accordingly. Sometimes that means quitting entirely, sometimes it just means we need to stop aspiring to an ideal that has no basis in our reality. That is, if your partner truly doesn't have an authoritative bone in his body, then he won't relish doing Bad Cop with the kids - or be remotely convincing at it. Or if she can't balance a checkbook to save her life, then don't take the risk of handing her yours.
The Lovely Libran sister listened to this, digesting my words. "If I were to go solely based on who deserved me, then I'd pretty much be dating no one.," I pause. "Or the Dalai Lama. Unfortunately, he's not my type - I don't like being upstaged by the gown. Or world peace."
Deserving. I'd thought about that word for a very, very long time after the Sewer happened to me. In the unceasing muteness of my bedroom where I would lay sleepless at night. In nerve-wracking places full of attractive women, any one of whom the Sewer could've and did replace me with so easily over and over again. I'd think, it happened before it can happen again and promptly break out into a cold sweat feeling nothing but blank, waiting for the nausea to go away.
By that equation, perhaps I deserved some of what happened? This is the circle of logic (or lack thereof) we have to work with to get this to be plausible. It's specially hard when you hear it in a shriek of well-meaning feminine rage or being ground out by a male "buddy" who has his own secret designs upon your virtue, "He DOESN'T deserve you!!!" One speaks, emotions inevitably sparked by both her own painful memories and earnest protectiveness, and the other, lays in wait convinced HE would certainly be better.
I wish I could hold someone's hand as I tell them that, I'm sorry, but deserving isn't always a factor in it. We may hope for it, or aspire to it, but it isn't guaranteed. Of course, there's justice, there's due course, but beyond what can be reasonably addressed, the things that happen in a life aren't always connected to what you do or don't deserve. It's why sometimes, despite our utmost, we encounter failure. Or lack. Or at worse, wrongdoing.
Suffice to say, it’s probably better not to seek assurance in a false equation but rather, risk finding your truth in whatever little amounts you can by being in the experience. And not denying what's in front of you.
In sorrow and unmitigated sadness, the only way is through. In inexplicable things such as wayward love affairs and men who can't make up their minds about you, it's wiser not to rest your worth on the filter of their respective confusions. Questioning it formulaically is just...resisting. Which is natural to do, for a bit. But really unproductive.
The one thing that unhappy circumstances consistently ask anyone for is to be owned. To be claimed by its subject. And subsequently changed by it. Hopefully, to be convinced that worth is strictly an internally traded stock, and better answered by asking if you can live with yourself based on who you are and what you have or haven't done. If you want to start with an act of self-worth, that's a good point to begin with.
But they had a life together, six children, a business. Sixty one years of marriage. Uninterrupted by the question of deserving. When my mother died, I also understood that in part it was because she'd had enough and it was time. Maybe that's what love does, allows us to continue despite not always getting what we deserve. Maybe it helps us accept each other for our imperfections, and if not our present, but also our future failures. Maybe, it's only in love that we can hone ourselves to being deserving or being deserved. Which is the chicken and which is the egg?
It's loving yourself and your other through what isn't that's the hard part.